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Dutton era ends with Player of the Year honor

Brooks Dutton makes history, becoming the first goalie to win the award in Oregon

VERN UYETAKE - Brooks Dutton played four years on varsity for Lakeridge and helped the team to appearances in three state championship games. There aren’t always a ton of perks to being the little brother. For Brooks Dutton, being the youngest in a family of athletes meant being thrown into action before they’re entirely ready.

Dutton’s older brothers were both standout lacrosse players among other sports and both were prolific goal-scorers.

Brooks followed in their footsteps originally, starting his youth lacrosse career as an attackman. However, when it came to prestigious backyard competitions, the older Duttons needed someone to protect the net. And that role fell to younger brother Brooks.

“I remember one of the first times I played goalie, my oldest brother, Drew, left a huge, circular welt on my arm,” Dutton said.

It was trial by fire. Brooks, as an elementary schooler, was soon taking on a barrage of shots from one of the top high school lacrosse players in the state and another who was just a few years away from attaining that status.

But Brooks enjoyed the position, so much so that he made the transition to goalie permanently. The result was the most impressive high school career an Oregon lacrosse goalie has put together, culminating with winning the award for Player of the Year this season, becoming the first goalie ever to win the honor.

“I was really surprised as a goalie and just because of how the season ended,” Dutton said.

When Dutton entered high school, he earned a spot on the varsity team as a back-up to Warren Nielsen, another of the best goalies to come through Oregon.

“He was a great guy and a mentor to me,” Dutton said.

Nielsen endured injuries his senior year and, once again, Dutton was thrust into action early. In his very first start, Dutton went up again Lakeridge’s key rival West Linn and turned in a stellar debut, helping lead the Pacers to a victory.

Lakeridge would go on to win the state championship that season and would play in the state title game in each of the next two seasons.

This year, the Pacers were inundated with injuries early in the season, particularly on defense. But Lakeridge’s back-ups rose to the occasion and Dutton helped anchor a stingy back line, leading the Pacers to a league title and eventually a berth in the Final Four before being upended by state champion Beaverton.

Dutton’s skills as a goalie were recognized around the country at an early age.

“I started getting interest from colleges when I was in eighth grade which was kind of crazy,” Dutton said.

Eventually he would decide on Sacred Heart college in Connecticut.

“I really liked the coach and his staff and they really wanted me to come in and help rebuild the program,” Dutton said.

Dutton’s graduation is the end of an era at Lakeridge as the family has made an enormous contribution to the school’s athletic programs, particularly in lacrosse.

“Lacrosse will definitely always be a part of my life in some way,” Dutton said.